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World Mission Day is the universal Church in communion

VATICAN (SE): At his angelus message for World Mission Day on October 20, Pope Francis told the 100,000 or so people gathered in St. Peter’s Square that mission is not just about making Catholics.

“The method of the Christian message is not proselytising,” he said, but fanning “the flame of faith that Jesus has kindled in the world.”

The pope’s angelus is a public reflection and prayer offered each Sunday that he is in Rome at midday in St. Peter’s Square.

Missio, the Vatican mission office in London, the United Kingdom, describes World Mission Day as “our chance to show love and solidarity to our brothers and sisters overseas who share our faith.”

It adds, “In offering our prayers, we join with missionaries everywhere in communion and compassion to support them in spreading the good news.”

A collection is taken up each year in every diocese throughout the world to support the mission of the Church in places that struggle financially and Missio describes this as an opportunity for people everywhere to respond to Christ’s call to feed the hungry and clothe the naked.

The Society for the Propagation of the Faith, which has its headquarters in the Vatican, allocates money from the Mission Day collections to places where it is needed most.

This fund coordinates the generosity of Catholics across the world by providing new, young or poor dioceses with the essential support they need on their journey to becoming self-sufficient.

Since the official name of Propagation of the Faith is not particularly attractive or descriptive in many languages, the organisation travels under names like Catholic Mission, Missio and others in various countries.

Archbishop Kevin Dowling, from South Africa, calls this way of sharing part of being in communion with the universal Church. He says that it is a concrete way in which the Church can indeed call itself universal, as the process is a sharing among and joining of Catholics across the world.

Pope Francis also called on his congregation to be close to the people of The Philippines, who are suffering in the wake of the devastating earthquake that hit Bohol and Cebu on October 15.

“I invite you all to pray for that dear nation,” he said, “which has recently undergone several disasters.”

The national director of Missio in Manila, Father Socrates Mesiona, has called for prayer for the people of his country, especially those who are directly affected by the recent typhoons and the earthquake.

Monsignor James Cronin, the national director of Missio in England and Wales, reports that Father Mesiona described the recent weeks in his country as being extremely difficult.

“Houses and farms were lost, damaged and destroyed,” he wrote. “In fact, I was scheduled to give a mission animation talk at one of the diocese in that area as part of the World Mission Sunday celebration, but I was informed that it had to be postponed, because there are still places which are not passable.”

He added that the people are still experiencing the trauma of the earthquake because of the aftershocks that continue to haunt them.

“At this very trying time we have to keep our faith in God; thus, your prayers are very much needed. Thank you!” he said.

In Australia, Catholic Mission is running its education programme around a theme inspired by the book of Jeremiah, where the Lord declares, “Do not be afraid… I will rescue you.”

It is calling for care for the victims of human trafficking through Church structures in India and other places offering them a helping hand.


It has also picked up the infant Church in Inner Mongolia and Bishop Wenceslao Padilla has been in the country sharing the story of the birth of his 20-year-old mission.

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